Monday 16 September 2019

Garda fails in bid to have tribunal findings quashed

Garda Keith Harrison. Picture: Collins
Garda Keith Harrison. Picture: Collins

Aodhan O'Faolain and Ray Managh

The High Court has dismissed Garda Keith Harrison's bid to have findings made by the Disclosures Tribunal against him quashed.

The Donegal-based officer, who was strongly criticised in the tribunal's interim reports, brought proceedings that centred over an alleged prior professional interaction between the tribunal chair Mr Justice Peter Charleton and a witness, Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn.

The allegation, which led to a claim of objective bias, related to when Ms McGinn was the Garda liaison to the Morris tribunal which considered allegations about gardaí in Donegal in 2002-05 when Mr Justice Charleton was that tribunal's senior counsel.

In her judgment, Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said she was satisfied to dismiss the action on the basis "no reasonable person could have a reasonable apprehension of bias based on the overlapping working period" when Judge Charleton and the chief superintendent worked at the Morris tribunal.

She noted the claim was one of objective bias only and there was no suggestion made by Gda Harrison's lawyers that Mr Justice Charleton was in any way actually biased in the findings he made.

Gda Harrison had sought an order quashing findings made in the tribunal's second interim report and the findings of the third interim report in so far as it related to him.

He claimed the tribunal rejected allegations made by him and his partner, Marisa Simms, and had exonerated others they had made complaints about.

Irish Independent

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